There have been many stories in the news lately about people trying to take a DIY approach to their own plastic surgery procedures. There have been other stories about patients duped by con artists pretending to be surgeons. There are ways to make sure your surgeon is qualified—and many people are wondering precisely how to do that.
Lessons in How to Make Sure Your Surgeon is Qualified
First and foremost, it’s important to note that people do make rash and impulsive choices. That’s true for just about everything, and plastic surgery is no exception.
And if it just came down to aesthetics, that might be fine. Unfortunately, there are certainly some unscrupulous (or ill informed) people out there who take advantage of patients. It’s gotten so bad on some social media sites that it can be difficult to tell who the real surgeon is. That’s why we all need to brush up on how to make sure your surgeon is qualified.
Know What Qualifications are Needed
It’s important to know the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. Simply, plastic surgery means anything that involves a scalpel. Cosmetic surgery or cosmetic procedures are those that don’t involve a scalpel and usually, instead, mean needles or lasers (although this is not universally true). These procedures can be performed by a much wider scope of surgeon.
That’s why many cosmetic procedures are offered by cosmetic surgeons or even dermatologists. That’s totally fine.
However, there are some gray areas, and in those gray areas is where things get tricky. Liposuction, for example, is one of those procedures that’s usually considered surgical, but it can be performed by a highly trained cosmetic surgeon in limited and specific ways.
So when you’re looking into cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery techniques, know what types of qualifications and credentials are appropriate to your procedure.
Know the Surgeon You’re Talking To
Rules on social media can be pretty lax. On Instagram, for example, it’s easy to pass one’s self off as a plastic surgeon—even if you aren’t. That’s why you should never commit to a procedure with a surgeon until you’ve done your own research. That research might include the following:
- Checking credentials: Most medical credentials are available for review by the public. For example, if a surgeon claims to be a board certified plastic surgeon, you can verify that with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons right on their website. Many surgeons will also post their CV on their website—something else you can double check on.
- Check references: Many surgeons will provide testimonials on their websites. But during a consultation you can actually ask for references, too. For privacy reasons, these references will have volunteered for the role. But it’s a good way to actually talk with somebody who underwent a real procedure from this particular surgeon.
- Double check reviews: There are a number of online review sites that are both general (such as Yelp! or Google) and specific to plastic and cosmetic surgery (RealSelf.com). Checking reviews through many sites is key to getting the full picture of what you’re in for.
- Don’t just check one surgeon: When it comes to plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures, make sure you shop around. Sure, one place might be offering a great deal on Botox for a great price. But it’s still worth checking with multiple people. If they all tell you the same thing, then you know you’re in a good place.
Take Your Time—Even if You’re Being Impulsive
The act of getting plastic surgery, or even just going in for Botox injections, should not be passive. Patients should be involved and informed every step of the way. That means that communication between you and your surgeon should be pretty open. And, sure, your surgeon will know more than you do—that’s kind of the whole point!
That said, keep an eye out for various warning signs. For example, if procedures seem too good to be true, they just might be. And you should never, ever get cosmetic surgery in somebody’s home or a dingy basement somewhere. When it comes to cosmetic procedures, cleanliness is a good thing.
So make sure you look into the reputation of your local medical spa. Check in on your surgeon’s reviews. And ask to see before and after photos. You can certainly decide to get plastic surgery on a whim. But you should follow through with that whim methodically and judiciously.
The skill of how to make sure your surgeon is qualified can take some time to develop. But it’s so important when it comes to ensuring your overall quality of care.